14 NOVEMBER 2014

Bibles returned to the Christians

This morning the 351 Bibles that contained the word ‘Allah’ that were seized earlier this year have been returned to the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) on the occasion of a courtesy call on His Royal Highness Sultan of Selangor by The Most Revd Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok, who is the Chairman of ACS and Acting President of the Council of Churches of Malaysia at the Istana Alam Shah, Klang. Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok was accompanied by the Secretary Generals respectively of the Association of Churches in Sarawak, Elder Ambrose Linang and of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, Rev. Dr. Herman Shastri.

The event were witnessed by State Secretary, Dato’ Mohammed Khusrin Bin Haji Munawi; Dato’ Seri Utama Di Raja Mufti Selangor, Dato’ Setia Mohd Tamyes Abd Wahid; Chairman of Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (MAIS), Dato’ Setia Haji Mohammad Adzib Mohd Isa; Director of Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS), Ahmad Zaharin Mohd Saad and myself.

Firstly, I want to register the highest appreciation and gratitude to His Royal Highness Sultan of Selangor for his foresight and initiative in seeking the best way to resolve this long standing problem.

All parties concerned in particular the MAIS and the ACS have therefore reached an amicable resolution of the Bible issue through sincere efforts and conviction to respect religious sensitivities of all communities.

I would also like to record my appreciation to the Chairman of MAIS, Dato’ Setia Haji Mohammad Adzib Mohd Isa and The Most Revd Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok for doing their best to see this matter resolved in the best way possible.

As I have said on many occasions since assuming the position of Dato’ Menteri Besar, this administration will pursue all means possible to enhance and foster communal and religious understanding in Selangor. Among other priorities in this regard, I had pledged to have the Bibles returned to the Christians because they belong to them. Now, thanks to the wisdom and foresight of His Royal Highness Sultan of Selangor, this has become a reality.

On this auspicious occasion, it bears repeating the Qur’anic injunction:

“And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you.” (al-Baqara : 143)

Interpreting the above-quoted verse, world renowned Islamic jurist Sheikh Dr. Yusuf al Qardhawi says:

The Muslim umma is a nation of justice and moderation; it witnesses every deviation from the straight path in this life and in the hereafter.

It should, therefore, be stressed that what we witnessed in this morning’s handing over event is the Qur’anic imperatives on justice and moderation being applied in reality.

As I have said before, all parties must respect the status of Islam as the State religion. However, as freedom of religion is enshrined in the Constitution, extremist sentiments, race baiting and religious fanaticism will not be part of the administration of the State of Selangor.

Islam is rahmatan Lil alamin, a blessing for all humanity, and my administration will continue to propagate Islamic teachings and showcase the State of Selangor as exemplary in advocating moderation and justice.

Mohamed Azmin Ali

Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor

 


 

KENYATAAN AKHBAR DATO’ MENTERI BESAR SELANGOR

14 NOVEMBER 2014

Kesemua 351 Bible yang mengandungi perkataan ‘Allah’ yang telah dirampas awal tahun ini telah dipulangkan kepada Persatuan Gereja – Gereja Sarawak (ACS) ketika kunjungan hormat Pengerusi ACS, Most Reved Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok kepada DYMM Sultan Selangor di Istana Alam Shah, Klang pagi ini. Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok ditemani oleh Setiausaha Agung ACS Elder Ambrose Linang dan Setiausaha Agung Majlis Gereja Malaysia, Rev Dr. Herman Shastri.

Acara ini turut disaksikan Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri, Dato’ Mohammed Khusrin Bin Haji Munawi, Dato’ Seri Utama Di Raja Mufti Selangor, Dato’ Setia Mohd Tamyes Abd Wahid, Pengerusi Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (MAIS), Dato’ Setia Haji Mohammad Adzib Mohd Isa dan Pengerusi Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS), Ahmad Zaharin Mohd Saad.

Pertamanya, saya mahu mengucapkan setinggi penghargaan dan rasa syukur kepada DYMM Tuanku Sultan atas pandangan jauh dan insiatif Baginda dalam mencari kaedah terbaik untuk menyelesaikan masalah yang telah berlarutan sekian lama.

Semua pihak yang terlibat, terutamanya MAIS dan ACS telahpun mencapai satu penyelesaian yang baik dalam isu Bible ini menerusi usaha ikhlas dan keyakinan untuk menghormati sensitiviti agama dan masyarakat.

Saya turut ingin merakamkan penghargaan kepada Pengerusi Majlis Agama Islam Selangor, Dato’ Setia Haji Mohammad Adzib Mohd Isa dan Most Revd Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok kerana melakukan yang terbaik demi memastikan hal ini diselesaikan dengan harmoni.

Seperti yang saya katakan beberapa kali sejak memegang jawatan Dato’ Menteri Besar, pentadbiran ini akan mengusahakan pelbagai cara untuk menambahbaik dan memupuk persefahaman kaum dan agama di Selangor. Sebagai salah satu perkara utama dalam usul ini, saya telah berikrar untuk memulangkan Bible tersebut kepada pihak Kristian kerana ia milik mereka. Kini, di atas kebijaksanaan dan pandangan jauh DYMM Tuanku Sultan, ia telah menjadi realiti.

Saya ingin memetik ayat Al – Quran :

“Dan demikianlah kami telah menjadikan kamu satu masyarakat yang adil dan kamu bahawa kamu akan menjadi saksi atas manusia dan Rasul menjadi saksi ke atas kamu.” (Al-Baqarah: 143)

Ulama terkenal Sheikh Dr. Yusuf al Qardhawi dalam menafsir ayat di atas menyatakan :

“Umat Islam adalah sebuah negara yang adil dan sederhana; ia menjadi saksi kepada setiap penyimpangan dari jalan yang lurus di dunia dan di akhirat. “

Oleh itu, harus ditekankan bahawa apa yang kita saksikan dalam penyerahan Bible pagi ini lebih acara pengaplikasian konsep keadilan dan kesederhanaan yang dimaksudkan dalam al-Quran secara realiti.

Seperti yang saya katakan sebelum ini, semua pihak perlu menghormati kedudukan Islam sebagai agama rasmi negeri ini. Walau bagaimanapun, seperti kebebasan beragama termaktub di dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan, sentimen pelampau (extremism), provokasi kaum dan fanatik agama tidak akan menjadi sebahagian daripada pentadbiran Negeri Selangor.

Islam adalah rahmatan lil alamin – rahmat untuk semua manusia, dan pentadbiran saya akan terus menyebarkan ajaran Islam dan mempamerkan Negeri Selangor sebagai teladan dalam menyokong kesederhanaan dan keadilan.

Mohamed Azmin Ali

Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor

I refer to the recent controversy concerning the issue of Sisters in Islam (SIS) seeking judicial review of MAIS’ fatwa.

After reading the statement by SIS in the media, I immediately communicated with Dato’ Seri Utama Di Raja Mufti of Selangor and raised the matter with him.

This matter was then discussed at the Meeting of Dewan Di – Raja Selangor which coincidentally was in session on November 3rd 2014 in order to get a clarification from Dato’ Seri Utama Di Raja Mufti of Selangor and MAIS.

It should be noted that I am not a member of the Fatwa Committee of Selangor and fatwas are not within the jurisdiction or purview of the office of the Menteri Besar.

From the clarification given by the Mufti and MAIS at the Meeting of Dewan Di – Raja Selangor, I proposed with the consent

of Tuanku Sultan, that the Mufti of Selangor and MAIS hold a meeting with SIS in order to avert confusion and misunderstanding.

I earnestly hope that such consultation and meeting, conducted without rancour or ill-will, would help bring about an atmosphere of harmony as enjoined by Islam.

Mohamed Azmin Ali

Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor

November 5, 2014

Kenyataan Media Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor

Saya ingin merujuk pada kontroversi mengenai isu Sisters in Islam (SIS) memohon semakan kehakiman mengenai fatwa MAIS.

Selepas membaca kenyataan SIS di media, saya telah menghubungi Dato’ Seri Utama Di Raja Mufti Selangor untuk mendapat penjelasan mengenai tersebut. Isu ini kemudiannya dibincangkan di Mesyuarat Dewan Di – Raja Selangor yang kebetulan berlangsung pada 3 November 2014 untuk mendapatkan penjelasan langsung dari Dato’ Seri Utama Di Raja Mufti Selangor dan Pengerusi MAIS.

Perlu diingatkan bahawa saya bukanlah Ahli Jawatankuasa Fatwa Selangor dan Pejabat Menteri Besar tidak berkuasa ke atas hal – hal berkaitan fatwa.

Daripada penjelasan yang diberikan Dato’ Seri Utama Di Raja Mufti Selangor dan MAIS di Mesyuarat Dewan Di – Raja Selangor, saya telah mencadangkan, dengan perkenan Tuanku Sultan, supaya Dato’ Seri Utama Di Raja Mufti Selangor dan MAIS membuat pertemuan dengan SIS untuk mengelak kekeliruan dan salah faham.

Saya benar – benar berharap dengan konsultasi dan pertemuan yang dijalankan tanpa prasangka, akan membantu untuk membawa suasana harmoni sepertimana yang dianjurkan oleh Islam.

Mohamed Azmin Ali

Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor

5 November 2014

Selangor, at the dinner reception in conjunction with the First International Conference on the World Forum for Muslim Democrats on 2nd November, 2014, Petaling Jaya.

The World Forum for Muslim Democrats as conceived and convened by the right honourable Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim is indeed a landmark achievement. This conference is the first ever international conference on Islam and democracy to be held not just in the state but in Malaysia.

However, it is a sad commentary on the state of democracy and the rule of law in Malaysia that at a time when such a forum is being convened, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim is again being politically persecuted by the Malaysian authorities.

This second prosecution is part and parcel of a despicable conspiracy, to assassinate Dato’ Seri Anwar’s character and destroy his political career as a genuine democrat and as a champion for reform and justice.

It is obvious that the voices of condemnation both at home and abroad are falling on the deaf ears on the current regime – a government that is hell bent on putting Anwar Ibrahim behind bars again.

After nearly six decades of gaining Independence, it is patently and tragically clear that we have before us a criminal and judicial process that is deeply flawed.

It is flawed not because of some inherent deficiency, weakness or incompetence of the judges. It is flawed because of the abuse of the powers that be and their morbid fear of losing power. Consequently, the nation itself is on trial: sending Anwar Ibrahim to jail once again is as good as sending justice to the gallows.

This relentless persecution of Anwar Ibrahim shows that the struggle for democracy in a country like Malaysia is fraught with inherent dangers. Anwar Ibrahim’s courage and fortitude in returning to Malaysia rather than choosing the life of a political exile is a source of inspiration to all who cherish democracy, freedom and justice.

Tonight’s dinner has brought together a gathering of eminent Muslim leaders and intellectuals as well as some prominent leaders and law makers from other faiths.

This approach rightly underscores the importance of an inclusive paradigm in the discourse on democracy and Islam.

Too often, we come across initiatives that appear to address issues on a piecemeal basis without looking at them holistically or taking into account the cultural and religious diversity of the societies that we live in.

In fact this failure to look beyond one’s confines, has in many ways resulted in a culture of intolerance and bigotry. This in turn has given rise to all kinds of negative tendencies and consequences and a world view that is one-dimensional and inward looking.

The present day manifestations of this narrowed blinkered world view can be seen in the rise of extreme bigotry and many forms of extremism.

I am sure this subject will be addressed thoroughly and comprehensively in the conference. In surah al-Baqara, verse 143, Allah declares:

“And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you.”

In order to appreciate the true importance of this verse, I cannot do better than to refer to the great alim and world renowned Islamic jurist Sheikh Dr Yusuf al Qardhawi. As far back as 1981, interpreting the above-quoted verse, he said:

“The Muslim umma is a nation of justice and moderation; it witnesses every deviation from the sirat al-mustaqim, that is, the straight path in this life and in the hereafter.”

“Justice and moderation” – these are indeed key concepts, that are more than ever before, crucial for the Muslim umma. With extremist groups springing up like mushrooms, the umma is being confronted with a direct challenge to their world view.

The failure to condemn these extremist and violent and destructive groups by some Muslim leaders casts a dark shadow on their true positions. In remaining silent to the atrocities committed by the likes of IS and Boko Haram, they become complicit by omission. The paramount importance of these twin imperatives – justice and moderation – is therefore lost on them.

These issues are not just pertinent as subjects of discourse at high level conferences like this but are matters which have a direct impact on the people. In Selangor, for example, the failure to appreciate and embrace these Qur’anic imperatives among groups that pride themselves as ‘Islamic’ has led to the outpouring of fanatical and extremist sentiments. These sentiments are then given wide media coverage by the mainstream media controlled by those in power.

In this regard, I must stress that such sentiments will have no place in the administration of the State of Selangor and we will do our utmost to ensure that the principles of justice and moderation will prevail at all times. I am pleased that this sentiment is shared by the newly installed Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Most Rev Julian Leow Beng Kim. I noted with high regard his pledge to heal and build the nation and his view that a fresh narrative for the nation “would include mutual respect, interdependence and coorperation.”

“Of late, our beloved nation has witnessed a rising tide of intolerence and communal animosity fuelled by irresponsible quarters serving the interest of their own agenda”

As the state of Selangor is in many ways a microcosm of Malaysia with the distribution of the various ethnic and religious groups in the community, these developments and the manner in which the authorities respond, therefore, affect the nation as a whole.

This conference of world Muslim democrats cannot be more opportune coming at such a point in history where the term ‘Islamic state’ has become a byword and even ‘Islam’ itself has taken on so much negative connotation.

Hence, it is earnestly hoped that the views articulated on matters pertaining to these labels as well as democracy and Islam will help clear the confusion and misperceptions and contribute positively towards the furtherance of justice and moderation.

Last, but not least, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Mr. Jiro Hanyu, the chairman of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation for holding this first International Conference of the World Forum For Muslim Democrat in Selangor. It is indeed fitting for a Japanese foundation to support the efforts to bring together Muslim democrats as well as democrats of other faiths, to deliberate on the challenges at hand.

As the first non-western democracy, Japan will no doubt play a pivotal role in the dynamics of engagement with Muslim democrats economically, politically and diplomatically. Despite the difficulties and set-backs currently faced by Muslim democrats in the Arab world and the formidable challenges ahead for the umma, I believe that the march for democracy in the Muslim world will gain from strength to strength.

Saya mengharapkan penglibatan dan penyertaan secara konstruktif daripada para demokrat Islam dan bukan Islam dalam wacana ini supaya dapat membina kefahaman dan melenyapkan prasangka terhadap Islam dan peranan positifnya pada zaman sekarang. Adalah diharapkan wacana ini menjadi wahana kepada pelaksanaan tahalluf siyasi di negara ini.